And the greatest love in all the world
Is waiting somewhere for me
It's waiting somewhere, somewhere for me…
Market day in the village of Lima on a beautiful spring morning. The entire town had come to life as people walked the streets in search of their treasures and vendors peddled their wares. Out of one shop, three women dressed in garish dresses walked onto the cobblestone streets – a mother and her two daughters. The mother was tall and slim with cropped blonde hair, one daughter a little shorter with wavy shoulder-length hair, and her sister with blonde hair lighter than her mother's done up in a messy ponytail. They turned towards the open door
"Come now, Emma," the mother called in a loud voice, "we haven't got all day!"
A slender, willowy young woman stepped out of the shop, her arms loaded with boxes and bags. She wore a raggedy cream-colored dress with a white apron thrown over it, a matching cream-colored kerchief tied over her red hair. Her doe-like eyes regarded her stepmother and her two stepsisters with wonderment. One of her stepsisters, Terri, noticed a hat on a nearby market stand and tried it on. The other stepsister, Kendra, yanked it off her sister's head and put it on her own.
"Emma," said Kendra. "Does this hat look better on me?" Terri swiped it back.
"Or does it look better on me?" Terri asked.
"Personally, I don't think it suits either one of you," Emma said softly, speaking more from her heart than from her head.
"Well, what would you know about fashion, considering the way you dress?" said Emma's stepmother, Sue. "Now get moving with those packages!"
"Yes, Stepmother," Emma replied. She let her stepmother and stepsisters get a head start on her before walking herself, her mind elsewhere. Ever since her father died, she had been ridiculed by her stepsisters and treated horribly by her stepmother, forcing her to a life of servitude as her maid. Emma wanted much more than what she had now – all she wanted was to leave her shattered home and find true love, someone who accepted her for who she was.
In another part of the village, a young man was browsing a market stall. He was dressed informally in a red shirt with the sleeves partially rolled up, khaki pants and brown riding boots. His light brown eyes sparkled mischievously and his curly hair shone in the sunlight. As he continued to examine the stall, there were the sounds of a horse and a girl crying. He ran over to see what the fuss was all about. A carriage had gotten in the way of a young woman with red hair tucked under a kerchief, she was bent down on the street, boxes and bags scattered on the ground.
"Here, let me help," the young man offered, starting to pick up the woman's parcels. She looked at the handsome stranger.
"Thank you," she said shyly. "Very few people have ever shown me such kindness."
"I was always taught to show kindness to people who needed it," replied the young man. They stood up facing one another as he handed her the last of her parcels."
"Tell me, young maiden, what is your name?" he asked her.
"Emma," she answered.
"Emma," the young man repeated. "A lovely name to match a lovely person."
"Emma!" cried her stepmother. "Stop daydreaming and hurry up with those packages!"
"I must go," Emma said, and ran off to catch up with her stepmother and stepsisters, leaving the young stranger alone. When she was out of sight, he turned to the north gates of the village where a carriage was waiting. Singing to himself, he got in as the driver closed the door and drove off towards the hills.
He hoped that one day he would meet the red-haired girl again.